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PARIS — Notre Dame Cathedral's bells tolled a full ten minutes, growing softer before stopping completely at exactly noon on Monday.
A crowd numbering in the hundreds then stood motionless and in silence to observe a minute of silence for the 129 who died in the Paris terror attacks that plunged France into mourning.
Louise Leduc cried as she leaned on two friends during the 60 seconds in front of Paris' towering and iconic cathedral. Then she hugged them. Through her tears, the 19-year-old told NBC News how senseless the violence seemed.
“They died for nothing,” the law and philosophy student said after the tribute.
Her friend and fellow Sorbonne student Iris Vezyroglou agreed.
“It's unthinkable,” she said. “We wish there was something we could do. But we can't do anything. We're just going to keep on living and fighting.”
“We are not afraid to go out. Life hasn’t stopped,” the 18-year-old added defiantly.
Alexandre Lefebvre, their 19-year-old classmate, said the trio chose to come to Notre Dame because of its significance to Parisians and the French in general.
Lefebvre said he noticed an uncomfortable difference between Friday's onslaught and the attacks on a kosher supermarket and the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January.
“It feels different,” he said. “The emotion is intense but ... it feels like almost habitual, there’s resignation this time.”
Leduc vowed not to let terrorism defeat Paris.
“It could happen to us — if we take the metro, go to a restaurant, go to our home,” Leduc said. “It's difficult but we are not going to stop living for them."
“It's hard not to become resigned to this,” she said. “It’s hard — but we must not.”